The Practice: Shipping Creative Work by Seth Godin

Off late I am getting drawn towards books and authors whom I find relevant to the changing times.

Be it David Burns or William B. Irvine or Seth Godin, they all seem to know that a day will come in the near future when humans all over the world will need a different kind of motivation and direction to lead a life in the new normal.

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4/5

Author : Seth Godin
Originally Published : 2020
Publication :Portfolio
Pages :272
Genre(s) :-
Non-Fiction, Self-Help, Creativity, Business

Seth Godin has been a favorite of mine, ever since he wrote The Encyclopedia of Fictional People Days. I have followed almost all of his dozen plus books and more. What I like about him is the simplicity of his narrative which, I feel, comes from him being an entrepreneur-author himself (Godin has founded and sold several successful ventures). The Practice is his latest book published last year (2020), a slim, easy to read compilation of small chapters which become meaningful even when read separately.

Seth Godin begins in his own inimitable manner: plucking you out of your comfort zone coolly. It is book, he says, for people who want to lead, write, sing and teach, innovate and solve interesting problems.

Who are these people? They are you and me.

He comments on the industrial system that encourages working towards outcome, however least creative they may be. The practice is to find something that you love to do. Skill is not the same as talent, he says and you wouldn’t agree more. Being creative is a choice and creativity is contagious. Creativity lies in action and not just in feeling. So is a story, which is a series of actions. There will be no story when there is no action. If you want to change your story, you must change your actions. What would trigger which action is all up to you, how much you allow yourself to be triggered. Even a piece of blank paper can be a trigger for an artist. For all this to happen, you need passion. Godin’s podcasts delve on how to find passion because how can you succeed or even enjoy when you’re not passionate?

What is the Practice, then?

It is our persistence to be different, embracing a different pattern that offers no guarantees. Practice allows you to be of service even when there’s no guarantee. Slowly you start connecting the dots that Godin is laying on your path. You realize that being of some value involves first seeing yourself in new light. It’s about not accepting mediocrity and striving to find, or rather, make a new path through a lot of passion.

He asks you to accept the imposter syndrome when you feel you don’t deserve to be this successful. Embrace that, he says, for its proof that you’re doing meaningful service. Start where you are, with whatever you’re doing right now. Why wait for an ideal time and opportunity? Then that may never come and you may stick to being in the rut.

Trust is magic

Trust in yourself just like you trust people and organizations. Too many times, we trust everyone except ourselves. There will always be moments when things are not right- the health, the economy, the market conditions or even the dented confidence. But practice saves us because practice can be trusted. Careers of creative persons are not linear, they are a series of bridges, of trusted practice.

Shaking yourself

When was the last time you did something for the first time, says Godin and wakes you up.True learning requires some amount of discomfort for it to stay in your mind forever. Discomfort keeps people on their toes. You need to act fast, for there’s finite time in one’s life.

Key takeaways

  1. The book is a compilation of sorts of sentences that can become quotable quotes in their own right. The key to understand this book is to connect the dots and decipher the meaning.
  2. Seth Godin in his own style nudges you without telling what you ought to understand. That makes it quite complex and simple at the same time. Complex because there can be several meanings to his words and simple because you can make the right meaning of them in your own context.
  3. Coming out of your comfort zone, being passionate, having a purpose in life and not following the oft treaded path are some of the key suggestions.
  4. It throws light on a path where you discover yourself as you go along, without having any attachment to outcomes

Why I recommend this book

Because once in a while you need to read books that make you re-read the lines. It eggs on you to turn your passion into a practice and to shed distractions and focus. It is in fact a step by step guide to discover yourself afresh so that you find your life’s purpose. For those people who lack the direction in life, this book would come as a great relief. I also feel such books must be re-read every few years, just so that you know you are on the right track.

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